Sociology Index

LONGITUDINAL RESEARCH

Cross-sectional research, Panel Study

Longitudinal research measure relationships between variables over a period of time. Involving information about an individual or group at different times throughout a long period. A series of cross-sectional investigations taken over time will provide a longitudinal research study.

For example, one might follow a group of males from birth to age 30 to measure their involvement with the criminal justice system over time and relate this information to their parents' socio-economic status.

Recent developments in analytical methods and in data collection activities, including the growing number of longitudinal data sets in Canada and worldwide, have allowed for the increased reliance on powerful longitudinal approaches by research projects.

The Centre for Longitudinal Research Studies - Following lives from birth and through the adult years. - (CLS) is an ESRC Resource Centre based at the Institution of Education. - cls.ioe.ac.uk

Longitudinal research studies of effects of divorce on children in Great Britain and the United States - AJ Cherlin, FF Furstenberg Jr, L Chase-Lansdale, KE Kiernan, PK Robins, DR Morrison, and JO Teitler - Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

National, longitudinal surveys from Great Britain and the United States were used to investigate the effects of divorce on children. In both studies, a subsample of children who were in two-parent families during the initial interview (at age 7 in the British data and at ages 7 to 11 in the U.S. data) were followed through the next interview (at age 11 and ages 11 to 16, respectively). At both time points in the British data, parents and teachers independently rated the children's behavior problems, and the children were given reading and mathematics achievement tests. At both time points in the U.S. data, parents rated the children's behavior problems. Children whose parents divorced or separated between the two time points were compared to children whose families remained intact. For boys, the apparent effect of separation or divorce on behavior problems and achievement at the later time point was sharply reduced by considering behavior problems, achievement levels, and family difficulties that were present at the earlier time point, before any of the families had broken up. For girls, the reduction in the apparent effect of divorce occurred to a lesser but still noticeable extent once preexisting conditions were considered.